“There’s some speech that definitely provides no value and some speech that could even be harmful for society, but who gets to make those determinations? Who gets to draw that line? And when you’re somebody that’s perched in Silicon Valley, and you’re woke, and you believe George Washington and Abraham Lincoln should be removed from the schools, and you have all these different views, you’re not someone that’s going to be a referee just as I may not be someone that would referee speech that you think would be important.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled state legislature are working together to condemn Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, and Apple for their power abuses including censorship, de-platforming, and election interference.
The state’s Republican leaders plan to propose legislation that, if passed, seeks to protect Floridians’ privacy rights and penalize Silicon Valley giants for taking actions against political opponents and citizens through shadowbanning, algorithm manipulation, and capitalizing on anti-conservative bias.
“Big Tech has long since abdicated the protection of consumers for the pursuit of profit,” DeSantis said in a press conference at the Florida state Capitol on Tuesday. “We can’t allow Floridians’ privacy to be violated, their voices and even their livelihoods diminished, and their elections interfered with.”
This proposal includes imposing a daily $100,000 fine on any tech company that chooses to deplatform a candidate running for office in Florida during an election cycle. It also would ensure that tech oligarchs record their promotions of certain candidates as campaign contributions with the Florida Elections Commission, a punishment DeSantis said fits the crime.
“Any Floridian can deplatform any candidate they choose — you simply unsubscribe — and it’s a right that I believe belongs with the citizen,” he said. “The message is loud and clear: When it comes to elections in Florida, Big Tech should stay out of it.”
In addition to election measures, the legislation aims to mandate transparency for the Big Tech companies, allow Floridians to choose to opt out of content filters, and grant the state’s attorney general to levy legal action against the tech oligarchs if they do not comply.
This pushback from DeSantis and GOP members in the Florida legislature comes after frustrations about widespread biased censorship by Big Tech in the last four years. While DeSantis noted that Twitter and Facebook’s permanent ban on former President Donald Trump was one of the more worrisome cases, he also explained how Silicon Valley giants’ crusade to limit certain information also affected Florida’s attempts to spread word on social media about COVID-19 vaccine availability, including labeling a vaccine update video as “sensitive content.”